The value of space during a pandemic

Max J. Hyman, Ian Savage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta Air Lines did not sell the middle seat on its flights that had them. In the second half of 2020 its principal rivals, American Airlines and United Airlines, continued to sell the middle seat. Analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation airline ticket data on 1358 domestic routes finds that Delta raised its fares by 15%. Therefore, passengers paid $23 to prevent a stranger from sitting next to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110039
JournalEconomics Letters
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Aviation
  • Pandemic
  • Price discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Finance


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